I spent last weekend in word-nerd heaven. I found this three day bliss fest in one of the most unlikely places… Green Bay, Wisconsin. In a town mostly known for its football prowess, over 2,000 word nerds gathered to learn, share, listen, speak, and enjoy each other’s company. 83 events, 7 locations, dozens of talented creative professionals and 2 epic presenters (Sherman Alexie and Margaret Atwood!). It's called Untitled Town and it's happening again next year. IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE.
I was honored to be a part of the inaugural year line up, speaking on Saturday at the Brown County Library, about how to Think Outside the Bookstore Box, sharing tips and tricks I have used to sell books, outside of a bookstore. (Pst: If you want this presentation including the oh-so-helpful active links, just email me! firstname.lastname@example.org) During this presentation and throughout the weekend I met a plethora of amazing people.
One of them, Patt, commented on my blog post: Complete The Story #1: A Single Drop of Hope, saying that she also LOVES this book. She said, “ My writing partner and I each work on writing from the same prompt and then share and compare our stories. It's amazing how creative yet different the stories turn out. We randomly select them counting from the beginning or end of the book, or a number of pages forward or backward from the last story we completed.” She asked me if I would complete a specific story in book and share my results, because they would also be working on this prompt this week.
So, Patt, here ya go! This one’s for you!
* Remember, the bold words are what was given as the prompt and the rest is my own. Happy reading! *
Complete the Story #2: Unforgiven
The desert is an unforgiving place. This one is called Death Valley for a reason. Every living thing here has to fight for survival. And we would have to fight too, or else end up dead and buried by the swirling grains of sand.
Those grains. Each one tiny and insignificant. Something so small should not cause such trouble, but it was hard to believe this thought as those tiny grains pelted my body, finding ways into my eyes, nostrils, ears and mouth. Every breath in took a few of those miniscule hazards into my body. Already it felt like a pile had begun to grow in the depths of my lungs. I knew this was impossible - the wind storm had only started minutes before. Even still - breathing was hard and I cursed each tiny grain of sand for its part in my troubles.
The afternoon hadn’t started out badly. Quite the opposite. We set out on the dune buggy full of enthusiasm and adventure. Too bad the gas tank didn’t match our explorer’s personalities. We’d been driving for about an hour and a half when the dune buggy’s engine quit and we coasted down the largest dune we had encountered all day.
Gerald, our guide, hopped from the driver’s seat, checked the height of the sun in the sky and swore.
“Damn interns. I give ‘em a checklist for a reason.” He slammed a fist on the hood of the vehicle, took one last look at the sun before starting to trudge back up the steep dune. “C’mon,” he called over his shoulder.
As he walked away I figured he thought we needed no more explanation. He must have been certain we’d follow, which we did. Scrambling would probably be a more accurate description than follow. What a sight we must have made, slip-sliding down, instead of moving upward with each step.
“Do you think this is just a designed flaw? A part of the boss’ team-building experience?”
Anthony had a point. It sounded like something Mr. Jacobson would do. At the time I had shrugged. Hours later as I forced one foot in front of the other, still not back at base camp, I made plans to sue him.